(a Post Integration Poem)
Habits and Echoes
I still talk to them at times
Sometimes I think I hear their voices
Is it my imagination
Perhaps just wishful longing
Or is it something more ?
I don’t know Lord
I don’t know.
Are they simply phantom thoughts
Still rattling through my mind
Am I just hearing echoes
Or have I fooled myself into believing
They are all gone?
I’m afraid Lord
I don’t want to need them anymore
I don’t want to depend on them instead of you
Yet I don’t like the loneliness Lord –
It is so quiet inside Jesus
So quiet inside.
Lead me down your paths God
Help me to move forward,
I must not, choose not to go back
Keep me whole Lord
Keep me whole.
SURROUNDED BY EVIL SAVED BY GOD
Comes out today, Monday February 15, 2016. It can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or directly from the publisher at http://www.kalospress.org for $10.95
This is the story of surviving unthinkable abuse at the hands of family members who should have been loving and protective but weren’t. It is about trying to find help for the ways my soul was fractured by the trauma I experienced. It is about the difficult path of healing and the struggles of recognizing the many times and ways God was not just with me but saving me when I was most vulnerable and wounded. It is my story of fracturing into 15 personalities due to severe abuse, and how God brought the right people into my life to help me take the difficult but healing path to wholeness. Integrating my personalities was not a quick nor easy task, but now, as I write my story as one single personality, I can say it is worth the work to see the grace of God that has and continues to sustain my life.
To purchase you can click the link below and it will be in the cart waiting for you to check out.
Stories of survival have always been very popular, grabbing our attention as we root for those trying to overcome great odds. Often over¬looked is how a survivor copes with what has happened and how they are thrust into facing the traumatic stress that arrives after the harmful events have passed.
This book touches upon the challenge in coping as well as the controversial topic regarding a person experiencing Dissociation. It does not attempt to resolve the debate, but rather goes beyond that, sharing the experiences and journey of coming out the other side of a life of abuse. It required years of work, step by step, to find a loving heavenly Father who through it all put the pieces of a fractured soul back together.
Ken Bachelor, Grief Counselor
Surrounded by Evil, Saved by God
$10.95 Availability: Now available for pre-order!
How does a child born into a family filled with violence, the occult and sexual deviance survive when she becomes the object of their abuse? Without being taught coping skills and having just small respite between assaults from multiple family members and their friends, this little girl found a way by splintering into 15 different personalities.
Filled with a desire to know the truth of the God she feared yet could not deny, she struggled with a myriad of emotions concerning the love of God and the abuse she endured daily. Although feeling abandoned and punished by God, she knew one truth, there was only one true God, and she could bow no other. What she did not understand in her search for God was just how close He was and how He provided a way of escape for her. That broken, wounded little girl was me.
I should have never survived my childhood. Having survived I should have been permanently institutionalized in a psychotic state beyond the reach of medical and psychiatric help. I should have never been able to share my story or pain, confusion, disappointment and eventually grace and peace, but here I am.
- I share my story to encourage the broken and wounded, the angry and hopeless that God does care and He is there.
- I share my struggles so those around me, especially in the Church may grow in compassion, grace, and understanding for the difficult and the outcasts of life.
- I share my story so God’s love, mercy and grace may be proclaimed.
- It is not a fairy tale or a happily ever after story, it is filled with raw emotions and years of hard work to heal the emotional and spiritual wounds left by the abuse.
- I am here to say it is worth the hard work and God will help you through it.
I hope you will gain something good as you read this book, and will also share it with those who struggle and those who care and help the struggling.
Taylor S Shepherd
For many who have suffered abuse at the hands of family members the Christmas season is often a time of loneliness and memories. Even in the midst of present day celebrations and time with friends it is not unusual to feel the tug of sadness of Christmases past and grief for the family you wished you had grown up in. It can amplify your sensitivity to the slightest, most unintentional acts from others, bringing on feelings of isolation and not fitting in.
I still find myself occasionally struggling with these issues to varying degrees. The most unsettling part is that even if I fared very well last holiday season, I can still find myself having a tough time this year or any future year. Like the ocean tides our feelings can ebb and flow giving a sense of helplessness and frustration for the survivor. So what do we do to “fight the good fight” even when we feel weary or depressed? We choose to remember the most important truth we know. Christ is always with us to the very end of this age. That is His promise.
I may have no family now. Many of my friends may be busy with their own families and celebrations to give me much thought. I never know from year to year if Christmas day will be spent with friends or at home with my cat. But I do know that I am never truly alone for I am loved by God.
In my darkest days after breaking away from my family and struggling through the journey of healing I had periods when I just couldn’t think straight. I would have intrusive memories of my most painful moments, and several times I spent Christmas in a psychiatric ward. My mind would become a storm, but there was one thing I clung to, the only thing I could remember at those moments: “Jesus loves me”.
This simple child’s song would repeat in my head – quieting my thoughts and soothing my emotional wounds. When I am blessed to spend the holidays, especially Christmas day with friends, I enjoy it and thank God with heartfelt prayer. On years when I find I will be spending Christmas day home alone, If at all possible, I decide to cook a big meal and invite those in my apartment community who for whatever reason also find themselves alone. I do this to honor God and to be the hands and feet of Christ. To remind others and myself, that Jesus loves me, and I while I may feel lonely, I am never alone.
There have been many times when my emotional pain left me feeling totally alone. It felt like no one around me understood the depths of it. Perhaps you have felt that way at times. These feelings are legitimate – for all pain, whether in our body or in our soul is individual and personal even if our experiences are not, by worldly standards, unique. All of our life’s experiences forge us into a one of a kind mosaic. Every trauma, every heartbreak, every injury and illness combine into an experience for you that no other human being can fully understand. Physically the pain of a broken bone or arthritis may seem like a Tylenol experience for some, while others require a narcotic pain medicine to function at the most basic levels. Doctors can only try their best to help based on what their patient tells them and years of experience. There isn’t a single, uniform RX for pain.
This is especially true for our spiritual and psychological pain, yet friends, acquaintances, and sometimes even our pastors and counselors fail to recognize this fact. How often have you heard the words, “You’re not the only person who has suffered and experienced that.” The unspoken idea being “suck it up and get over it already, others have! Don’t be a such crybaby!” If you are like me those words were like putting kerosene on a fire when I was at my most vulnerable. They may have been said at best out of ignorance and meant as an encouragement, or perhaps the person you were speaking to just didn’t want to be bothered that day. Yet for me and many others in the midst of struggling, they were a crushing sentiment. I always knew I wasn’t the only human being ever to have suffered. I am not the only human being to have been the victim of family and ritual abuse, but those words have never offered me comfort nor encouragement. If anything, they increased my soul’s pain.
The emotional pain I felt even as an adult, was at times intense and quite real, but trite statements gave me feelings of my pain being discounted by the other person, like they were deciding it wasn’t real or intense. In a way they were saying I had no right to feel what I did, or cry as I was. After all other people have suffered, so my experience was unimportant. Such “support” only intensified my heartache and loneliness.
So what am I trying to say? Please take a moment to consider a few things:
- As human beings can never fully comprehend the depths of another person’s experiences and pain. Thus we need to be supportive and not dismissive when someone is struggling. Please try to never discount their very personal and real pain by handing out messages, either outright or subtle, that their pain – and thus they – are unimportant or insignificant.
- There is One who does truly understand each of our experiences and pain – in all of its uniqueness – and that is Christ Jesus. He knows every experience, every thought and every tear we’ve had. He has experienced our life with us and stands with us through every moment. He personally knows the darkest corners of human weaknesses as well as its joys. It is He who is the author of our strength that makes us survivors and He will be the driving force that comforts us and brings healing in our souls. Whether in this life or in eternity we will one day have lasting peace and joy. That is the hope we have, this hope is sometimes the only life preserver we have to cling to in the storms of our experiences and memories. Cling to Christ and don’t give up, He will not let despair be your ending.
- To friends, pastors, and counselors I plead, don’t discount a person’s pain with trite or convenient answers. Let a person grieve but show them the pathway of hope. It may require a season of listening and sharing in their tears.*I encourage those who are suffering or have suffered to find an outlet to express their pain. For me it was writing poetry and keeping journals. For some it may be through art or craft work or any other way you can find to express/release some of the pain and pressure built up inside of you. Just please do nothing to hurt yourself or others. Doing so would only continue the cycle of abuse from those who inflicted pain. Try different things until you find something that channels those feelings and releases some of that pain in your soul.
- Read or listen to the Scriptures, especially the Psalms and New Testament. It is God’s love poured out to His people, to all of us. He has a heart for those who have suffered. Read about His tenderness and promises of a day when there will be no more tears. A time when joy will last not just for a few moments or days but for all ETERNITY.
I was victimized by my family as a child physically, emotionally and sexually. I have gone through many therapy hours seeking wholeness and I have overcome much. But that doesn’t change my history. I know women’s support groups often speak of being “survivors not victims” but that is not quite right. I am a survivor, and I have overcome, but every news story of rape or child abuse, every TV and movie plot on the topic, and every time I look at a parent and young child together, I am reminded that I was abused. I have a thought of grief or feel a flash of sadness or fear, but I am now able to not dwell on these feelings or entertain painful thoughts. Except for an occasionally tough days the past no longer disrupts my days. But I am still a person who was victimized, but that is not the only thing that defines me.
There was a time in my life, a long period of time when my victimization seemed to be all that defined me. Now, I am also defined by the kind of person I am, who my friends are, what I have accomplished, my goals, my gifts and my talents. Most of all I am defined by my salvation in Christ. The very Son of God came to walk among his creation for our good, but he was abused, wounded, murdered by the world that holds together by this word and power. Yet that is not all that happened to Jesus – he rose from the grave and lives in his full glory once again. He can not be overcome by men or principalities. He is not haunted by his suffering but through it offers us comfort and kinship. He will return to reign in glory and power. Yet, no matter how holy his reign in heaven, no matter how glorious his return shall be, it doesn’t erase the suffering of his final days and crucifixion. And that is a good thing.
Because Jesus suffered and died, we have peace with God. We have salvation, we have a great high priest. He understands our pain and betrayal. He knows the sorrow of being rejected and beaten by those who should love him. Jesus is our comforter through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our guide and our strength. While on this earth, I will always be affected by my victimization, but that is not the final word on who I am. Rather than deny my past, I can allow God to use it in my life to reach out to the wounded and broken. You don’t have to remain just a victim, you don’t have to deny that you were a victim, you can find identity in Christ and in your gifts and skills, in who you are as a person. You can move forward in you life. How? by letting the one who was wounded and crucified lead you to walk beyond your suffering and touch the world with His loving kindness and grace.
Dare to be no longer just a victim!
Is anyone listening LORD?
Does anybody even hear me?
For so long I was invisible to the world
Trapped within myself
Forced by my life behind sound-proof walls
Trying so hard to be heard
Through my behavior, my poetry, my silence
But no one ever heard me screaming for help
Desperate – Afraid – LONELY
Feeling both helpless and hopeless LORD
Until you eventually sent one person who truly saw me
And when our short journey ended
You sent another and then others to help me find
Those lost parts of my-self.
To help me be visible and have a voice again
So why do some still treat me like I am not there?
Is my visibility just a dream?
Or am I so ugly from my scars they choose to avert their eyes?
Why don’t they even seem to hear my voice GOD?
Am I not worthy of their attention?
Has nothing actually changed Lord?
Am I fooling myself with an illusion of value?
Can’t I simply matter just because
I am a human being?